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Personal protection
Old 05-19-2008, 10:26 AM   #1
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Personal protection

As Popeye would say, "I've took all I can stands, I can't stands no more!!"

I doubt there is a bigger advocate for 2nd Amendment rights and Castle Doctrine than me, anywhere. But I noticed a very disturbing trend in the "Guns for personal protection" thread. Why in the world would you go out into a darkened house seeking an encounter with an intruder who may very well be better armed than you are!?

Even with all of my weapons, and I literally have at least one of every type mentioned in the referenced thread, my family has always been taught to rendezvous at my bedroom, close and lock the door, and do NOTHING about whoever is downstairs except to call 911. I suggest anyone serious about home defense do a Google search for the term "safe room".

People who go looking for trouble in the dark quite often find it. In fact, Dept of Justice, Bureau of Statistics stats show that most homeowners who are shot while searching for an intruder are shot with their own weapons.

To set the record perfectly straight, I DO advocate the use of firearms for personal and home protection. I strongly recommend revolvers for all but the most dedicated practitioner. And I even more strongly suggest that nobody except a trained police officer perform an active search for an intruder in their home.

Stop and think about one more thing, please. What possessions do you honestly have that are worth the taking of a life? The perp is dead, he won't care. But law enforcement officers who suffer long-term psychological effects as a result of being forced to shoot another person are so common it's become a clichè. And we are trained for it, trained to expect it every day, and constantly reminded of the counseling available after we are forced to do it. What do you think it will do to you and your family?

Please, look into the concept of a "safe room", and stop thinking you are Wyatt Earp.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:34 AM   #2
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I figured I was more of a Doc Holliday.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:39 AM   #3
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Heh, I am apparently distantly related to Doc Holliday. Nothing material I have in the house is worth a shootout. Please, take my crappy CRT tv, the silverware, the computer, or even the iffy gold jewelry that is lying around.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:51 AM   #4
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I dont need a gun, I setup paint cans on strings at the top of my stairs to bang the guys in the head, heat up my door knobs to burn their hands, and pour hot water on my front porch so they slip.....
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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You are absolutely correct that most of us are not trained to be able to clear a house, and even if we were it is not possible to clear a house safely alone (you need at least 1 partner).

However, "bumps in the night" do happen, and if you want the police to take you seriously when you DO call, then you probably shouldn't make a habit of crying wolf and having them come clear your property whenever you hear a sound you don't recognize, see a shadow move, or even see a person walking across your property.

If I knew someone was IN the house, I would do exactly what you recommended: shut myself in the bedroom, lock the door, and call the police. Putting a bottleneck between you and the intruder (your bedroom doorway / hallway) gives you a significant advantage in that you only have to cover one spot, making it much easier to defend.

However, out of the dozens of times in my life where I have been awakened to the sound of breaking glass or strange noises, so far I have yet to have a home invasion. I am aware of the huge risk I am taking when there is a potential danger and I attempt to clear my house by myself; however, I feel that unless I am sure there is an intruder, I have no choice but to "go see for myself" because the police do not take kindly to multiple false alarms and anyway, they usually only show up in time to clean up the mess and write the report.

I realize it's a risk and I increase my alertness and caution accordingly, but without being positive that there is an intruder I think a call to 911 is wasted and is only going to give you paperwork to fill out.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:20 AM   #6
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I dont need a gun, I setup paint cans on strings at the top of my stairs to bang the guys in the head, heat up my door knobs to burn their hands, and pour hot water on my front porch so they slip.....
...a few strategically placed cat toys and they will never get to the new mac that hasn't been backed up yet. I was very disappointed in a previous break-in, absolutely nothing was taken. As for me, I'm out the window and down the fire escape leaving fluffy to hold down the fort.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
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Good points by Leatherneck and nyef.

Does it makes sense to yell out "Who's there?", especially if your family is all upstairs with you?

I guess I would then listen carefully for any other noises. If I heard any more, and I had some protection (which I currently don't), I'd be inclined to get the family to a safe, locked room, call 911, and call out a warning like "Leave now or I'm going to shoot to kill" but also stay upstairs and only shoot if the intruder came upstairs. This would also seem like a good time to chamber a shotgun shell if that's your protection. I'd think that most intruders would look to back out at this point.

Any problem with that, assuming you don't have an unaccounted kid who wears headphones around the house, or someone deaf in the family or who has a key?
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:00 PM   #8
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We sleep sans garments, so strange noises get investigated by me in goose bumps and baring a short arm. as it were. Figure that'll scare the hell out of intruders or incapacitate them with laughter. only been a couple times when events of the day had me load and keep the 1911 by the bed.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:04 PM   #9
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I have a x10 system in the house, so when things go bump in the night, I can light the entire house, except for my BR, which has only CFLs, from the comfort of my bed. If that doesn't scare them away, well, I stay hunkered in the BR, call 911, and should they choose to enter said BR, well, hasta la vista, baby...
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:07 PM   #10
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This is why my dog doesn't get supper... gotta give him a reason to get off the bed. No such thing as a free supper, he's got to chase it through the house!

The fact that any potential robber will have to step over the (empty) AR-15 case (currently acting as a dog barrier for the two little dogs), might give pause on continuing up the stairs.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:22 PM   #11
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Does it makes sense to yell out "Who's there?", especially if your family is all upstairs with you?
Yes, it does. If you know where everyone is, then it is best to stay put and not go looking for someone else who is:

A. Highly alert
B. Very tense if not outright frightened
C. Prepared and on a hair-trigger to take action to defend himself
D. Listening carefully for sounds of activity. If he hears any he will probably leave voluntarily. Leave him an escape route and he'll almost certainly take it.

Except in the cases of home invasions (very rare, and usually known to each other) virtually all intruders wish to avoid confrontations. The homeowners who get injured/killed are the ones who corner the intruder. Then the fight is inevitable. "How lucky do you feel today?"

There will always be exceptions to the above but you're almost certainly better off staying put and calling 911. I never ridiculed anyone for doing so.

For women, the motive for the home intrusion may be more than stealing stuff. They should be quick to get on the phone and have their own escape route in mind - out the window if possible.

Houses can make a lot of noises that sound like something else. In ours, when we first moved in the contractions of the wood in the attic at night did in fact sound like someone walking around up there. I got a lot of calls about that, almost always in newer houses. Also, the vinyl siding joints rubbing against each other while expanding in summer heat sounds exactly like a bee's nest in the wall.
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:16 PM   #12
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...
There will always be exceptions to the above but you're almost certainly better off staying put and calling 911. I never ridiculed anyone for doing so.

For women, the motive for the home intrusion may be more than stealing stuff. They should be quick to get on the phone and have their own escape route in mind - out the window if possible.
...
Good thread. It makes a lot of sense that the typical thief would be looking to get out - just let them know you are there, and let them run.

Something that this made me realize, and I never gave much thought to before, is that we should all be keeping our cell phones in the bedroom. A thief could certainly cut the phone and/or power before entering.

It sounds like a warning shout-out and a cell phone is a better self defense plan than a gun for most people.

-ERD50
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:42 PM   #13
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It sounds like a warning shout-out and a cell phone is a better self defense plan than a gun for most people.
Warning call, cell phone call AND gun seems like the optimum situation.

Police are not able to protect citizens during a break-in, etc. They come as quickly as they can, but I'm sure it will seem like hours to the folks in the house.

Yes, gather the family together, call 911, and have the firearm at hand as you hole up in the safe room if you believe someone may in the house. And, if there's clearly an intruder (i.e. you hear them speaking to each other or noises continue), then just wait in the room--you'll know exactly what to do if the door opens. But, in an ambiguous situation (heard a box fall over, etc) I just don't know if I'd call 911.

Which means, in practical terms, that I'll eventually need to investigate things to convince ourselves that we are alone in the house. It's not bravado, it's just assessing the various likelihoods.

That's one potential advantage of an alarm system: While false alarms are a problem, at least there's something in addition to "I think I heard a noise."
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:55 PM   #14
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Walt said it all. There's plenty of stuff in my house the loss of which would piss me off to no end. But none of it is worth anybody getting hurt over.

But I would have no problem busting a cap in some fool's behind if he was a threat to my family.

Unless you're running a stash house the odds of someone making an armed assault on your house are pretty minuscule. But it does happen. So I'm prepared with strong doors that would take even a well prepared raid team a few extra seconds to defeat, and a cell phone and pistol handy. If something ever happened, I plan to gun up, barricade myself in a good spot, call the not-yet-retired police, and be prepared to verbally challenge the intruder while having a .40 caliber advantage.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:05 PM   #15
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No guns in my house, nothing good is going to happen with guns. I'll take my chances and hope for the best.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:17 PM   #16
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So here's a weird near-coincidence. 40 minutes ago I heard a helicopter circling overhead (suburban neighborhood). I thought it might be related to nearby construction, and I thought I'd check it out since it was daily time to check the mail at the opposite corner of the block. The chopper was clearly circling a few block area, and looked like police. I figured they might be looking for a lost kid. Got back home, checked the local news sites, tv, radio...Nothing.

So I walked back out to my driveway and took a look with my binocs. Confirmed from the numbes that it was police. Then I see 5 armed uniforms plus a german shepherd walking up the next street. They weren't in any formation and didn't look like they were on hair-trigger alert, but all were carrying rifles.

Still no news. The chopper was overhead for at least 15 minutes, then moved a bit west over an open park nearby, and now I don't see or hear it anymore.

A bit scary since I hadn't locked my door when I went around the block to get my mail, and moreso since the chopper and police were heading in the direction of the high school DD attends, a mile away. I called her and she was off-campus for lunch with a friend, and promised to be careful and not go back to the school parking lot if anything looked odd or police were all around.
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:28 PM   #17
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Warning call, cell phone call AND gun seems like the optimum situation.
If some people want to add a gun to that list, that's fine with me. I only meant to acknowledge that there are some people who are uncomfortable with the idea of a gun in the house (not a judgment, just an observation). It seems that in the vast majority of what are already rare cases, the intruder will be scared off by someone calling out, with or without a firearm.

I can only speak for myself, but the odds of someone breaking in while we are in the house seem mighty slim to me. The odds of the intruder not just running off when detected, and ever getting to the point where they can actually determine whether I have a firearm or not seem very slim on top of that. If that extremely unlikely situation were to occur, the odds of me being able to actually use a firearm to my advantage seem slim, too.

It strikes me that the risk of an accident with that firearm is higher than it is of ever helping me. And the risk of it being stolen (when no one is home), and getting into the hands of irresponsible people, seems much higher than it ever helping me.

Please don't get me wrong - this is just how I feel. I fully respect someone else to feel differently, and to act on it.

This thread has me thinking though. In addition to keeping a cell phone in the bedroom, maybe a starter pistol or something isn't a bad idea? The noise of a pistol being shot, after yelling 'get out of my house', would add one more level of protection, without any potential risks.

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Old 05-19-2008, 04:29 PM   #18
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This thread has me thinking though. In addition to keeping a cell phone in the bedroom, maybe a starter pistol or something isn't a bad idea? The noise of a pistol being shot, after yelling 'get out of my house', would add one more level of protection, without any potential risks.

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The sound of a starter pistol might scare them away, or it might cause them to return fire...
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:41 PM   #19
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I think if you are stupid enough to break into someones house you deserve to die.
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:51 PM   #20
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I think if you are stupid enough to break into someones house you deserve to die.
I feel the same way about the people that run the merge lane up as far as possible to cut in front of me.
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